A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a wide range of symptoms that can disrupt your life. Among these are sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. Besides being distressing, having a sleep disorder can reduce your quality of life and ability to support yourself through work.
A recent study of American military veterans appears to confirm how often a TBI leads to sleep disorders. The massive study included about 200,000 veterans who suffered a brain injury during their service. Researchers matched each subject with veterans of the same age who were not diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
Much more likely to have a sleep disorder
They found that veterans with a history of brain trauma were 41 percent more likely to have suffered from a sleep disorder for at least one year, including:
- Sleep apnea
- Mood disorders related to sleep problems
The study indicates that those with mild TBIs like concussions were the most likely to be afflicted by a sleep disorder. Because concussions are by far the most common brain injury — in war zones as well as in civilian life — this has huge implications for a possible connection between TBIs and chronic sleep problems. Those in the study with sleep disorders had continued problems 14 years after their brain injuries.
The effects of disordered sleep
Sleep is a vital part of human health. When healthy sleep is taken away, it can greatly affect your mental health. As the study noted, subjects with sleep disorders were also more likely to have mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and drug addiction.
You do not have to have been in combat to have suffered a brain injury. If it happened because of someone else’s negligence, like in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault, you could be entitled to compensation from that party.